This Article By Penny Williams ran in the Nutfield News.
HAMPSTEAD: Beaver Lake Improvement Association member and coordinator of the Stream Team effort Paula Frank has been utilizing the help and expertise of the Pinkerton Academy students to do the Stream Team work. This summer Pinkerton Academy students will again be members of the Stream Team. This summer’s Stream Team will be headed by Micaela Griffin, a rising sophomore at Salve Regina University who as a Pinkerton Academy students took part in the Stream Team, working on the service-learning project.
“I really appreciated having the opportunity in high school as it allowed me to take what I had been learning in school into the field. I was able to learn water testing techniques and the impact pollutants have on water quality while working in the field cultivated my interest in pursuing a degree in science in college. I am very excited to be working with the Stream Teams once again. I look forward to working with Pinkerton students to teach them how to perform the water tests and to help them understand the importance of the procedures and to become more aware of the importance of protecting the Beaver Lake watershed. I appreciate the opportunity to take part in a program that encourages student interest in the sciences while allowing them to be involved in their community.”
The Stream Team members will be out collecting data in the streams and tributaries leading into Beaver Lake. The Pinkerton Academy Students, many of whom hope to pursue secondary education in environmental science or biology, are using their free time this summer to learn about water ecology, by collecting data that tracks the quality of water that flows into Beaver Lake.
Stream Teams were one of the many goals of the Beaver Lake Watershed Management Plan (BLWMP), which is part of Derry’s Master Plan. Created by a community-based partnership, to work toward the continued improvement of the Beaver Lake Watershed, the Beaver Lake Watershed Partnership (BLWP) used grant money to purchase equipment and fund the pilot Stream Team program that had its beginnings back in 2006.
Griffin explained what the Stream Team is doing saying, “In the streams we are collecting chemical parameters data (dissolved oxygen, conductivity, turbidity, pH and temperature), collecting biological data (collection of macroinvertebrates, which are the insects, worms, crayfish, etc. living in the water), and recording physical parameters of the stream (average width and depth, water color, signs of erosion, direction and speed of water, coordinates of the testing sites in the stream).
“First, we measure out our 200 foot testing site and make note of the beginning, middle and end of this area to have three testing areas. The coordinates of each of the three locations is also recording during this process. Next, we test the chemical parameters first by using meters that were lent to us by the NH Fish and Game Department. We then go through the physical parameters of the stream and measure the width of the stream and banks, depths at the beginning, middle and end of the test site, record color of water, sketch the site (noting the direction of the stream) and make a note of any abnormalities of the stream (runoff, drain pipes, signs of pollution, etc.) Finally, using a kick net, we go into the stream and kick at the rocks and soil of the riverbed into the net to collect and identify macroinvertebrates living in the stream. When identifying these organisms, we look at the ability of the species to tolerate pollution. This allows us to calculate a biotic score for lake health. We look at all of this data together to determine the overall health of the streams.”
The Stream Team will be testing the streams that flow into Beaver Lake. The streams include Jenny Dickey Brook, Manter Brook and Cato Brook. The Stream Team has established many testing sites along each stream.
Griffin has four Pinkerton Academy students volunteering this summer: Emily Carr (senior, age 17), Kamille Simon (sophomore, age 15) Kenny Ziniti (freshman, age 14); and Celia Wheaton (senior, age 17).
Asked what actually motivated her to undertake this program leadership Griffin said, “I volunteered with the Stream Team the summer before my senior year in high school (summer of 2014) and it allowed me to take what I had been learning in school into the field. I appreciate that this program teaches students how to perform the water tests and to help them understand the importance of the procedures and to become more aware of the importance of protecting the Beaver Lake watershed. It also fits in with my college education. I am a student at Salve Regina University majoring in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Studies and a minor in Chemistry. This program allows me to work in research this summer, while sharing my knowledge in Ecology with Pinkerton students. I hope to pursue a career in environmental science research and Stream Teams has been a great introduction to some research done in this field.”
Griffin indicated that the members of the Stream Team have made some interesting discoveries as they pursued their testing. They have found many crayfish in all of the streams tested. At the Manter Brook testing site farthest from Beaver Lake, they noted the presence of many frogs, small fish and a small snapping turtle. She said the students thought it was interesting that at the point of the stream furthest from the lake they saw the most organisms in the stream (in both macroinvertebrates collected and the other animals, frogs, fish, turtle, etc.)
“Based on the data we have been collecting, the health of the streams flowing into Beaver Lake are only fair (on a scale of poor, fair, good). This is likely due to the fact that the water level in all the streams is noticeably low this summer. With the lack of rain this summer, quite a few of the testing locations are dry.
Griffin said this year, Paula Frank contacted the NH Fish and Game Department and the Stream Team has teamed up with Judy Tumosa, the aquatic resources educator there. We have adopted her protocol so our data is going to be displayed on their GIS map along with data from other volunteer groups throughout the state in addition to being used by the Beaver Lake Improvement Association.